Two views on Sir Bradley

One of our members, David, subscribes to the conventional view and writes:

Sir Bradley Wiggins receives Knighthood following Tour de France Victory, Olympic Time Trial Gold Medal and Sports Personality of the Year 2012.

Sir Bradley Wiggins described receiving a Knighthood in the New Year Honours List as “incredible” but said he would not be using the title on a day-to-day basis.

“In terms of recognition and an accolade, as a sportsman in this country it’s probably the highest honour. I may get used to it over time, and I’ll probably use it in a very comedy way but not in a serious way. I certainly won’t be taking myself too seriously with it, that’s for sure,” said the 32-year old cyclist.

I take a different view:

I’ll try (!) to leave my political view – that “honours” replicate a Ruritanian view of the past – to one side and ask, “What’s the point?”

A highly-paid professional sportsman wins a gruelling cycle race and is awarded the Maillot Jaune – hurrah!  Great!  Brilliant!  I love it.

He goes on to win the Olympic Time Trial gold medal.  Hurrah!  Great!  Brilliant!  I love it and I was standing about 50 metres from the finish line.

I couldn’t tell you who won the gold medal at Beijing just four years ago.  Or any of the earlier winners.

Sports Personality of the Year?  What’s the point?  And a “knighthood”?  What’s the point?

Aren’t the Yellow Jersey and the Gold Medal enough?



2 thoughts on “Two views on Sir Bradley

  1. I see your point but what about Dave Brailsford’s gong? There’s someone who’s also put in the effort to get those victories yet has no yellow jersey nor gold medal to show for it. Wiggins’ results may have been recognised, but shouldn’t Brailsford have something as well, for doing something well while being British ?

    • Brailsford has his reputation – isn’t that enough?

      More seriously – and more controversially, I realise – my argument would go like this: I find Brailsford’s training regime very similar to that of the East Germans forty years ago. That is to say – total control over the athletes from an early age; nothing outside the training or the athlete is out; technical efforts based on incremental gains; and so on. Now I expect you’d reply that surely the East German success was built on drugs. Well, recent studies (by the University of Birmingham, say) suggest that the drugs played a part – but only a small part – in the edge that the East Germans enjoyed, less of a part than the control and the incremental gains. In a sense, they were technical professionals competing against amateurs.

      So, where am I going with this? Well, the East German technical directors (how odd that term seemed forty years ago) had done something well while being East German. They were awarded gongs (Heroes of Socialist Labour and the like).

      So “for doing something well while being British” it make perfect sense to make Brailsford a Hero of Socialist Labour – oops, I must mean Knight Batchelor with its wonderful insignia designed in …. 1926.

      It’s a big joke really!

      P.S. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to be made a knight if your first name was Lance?

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